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Wikia Launches 'Hackable Search'

Well, what do I say about this, the title simply says it all. Internet company Wikia has launched the 'new and improved' Wikia search engine which is , as the co-founder Jimmy Wales ( Also the co-founder of Wikipedia) puts it, a public controlled search engine. Simply put, this means that if you do a search on the search engine, and don't appreciate the results it puts up, you can simply change them, that too at the click of a button.

The engine will launch with a small segment of about 30 million machine-indexed pages which will form the baseline that Wikia Search will let users go to town on.

What I liked best about this site is that the editing you can do on it is amazingly extensive. If you think a result on a search result page is too low or too high in the listings, you can influence its position by rating it (The common 1-5 star system). You can also delete entries entirely (OMG!!) or hand-write new ones. You can also rewrite the text of a search result, including adding code to the result.

If you're one of those people accustomed to understanding the logic of purely algorithmic search, or if you hold a doctorate in computer science from XYZ university for studies in "Computational Analysis of Multi-user Logic Based Search Algorithms", then these will definitely scare the shit out of you!!. After all, what this search engine does is, in part, cater to the whims and fancies of the most whacked out computer systems out there...... yes, I'm talking about you and me, us crazy humans.

If you're lucky, though, your search result may be positively influenced by topic experts, your friends, or just other generally well-meaning people. But what are the chances of that??

Simply put, this engine works on the same principle as Wikipedia. When the number of users are large, the crazy kind should, atleast in theory, be subdued by the more populous, well meaning web users. Hasn't this worked for Wikipedia?? Damn sure it has!! But will it work for a search engine especially in a world where pagerank determines the financial success of a web-based company?

Wikia search is a copy of Anoox, which pioneered the "people powered search engine" concept. Just like Wikia, Anoox easily & transparently allows people to affect the search results by simply clicking on the button next to each listing to move it Up, Down, etc. However, Anoox is operated on a new Open source license model unlike Wikia.

I for one hope it does. I like the idea of an open and transparent search engine. But I'm skeptical, for the sole reason that there's more at stake in search then there is on most wikis. Simply put, the more successful this engine is, the more people there will be trying to game this system. The only thing that remains to be seen is if this search engine can, in fact reach the heights of Wikipedia.

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